Cazorla Replacement


Continuing the discussion from POLL - Preferred central midfield without Santi:

I really hate to have been right on this count, but I think I was. Two months on, and a Santi-less midfield only managed drab draws against Tottenham and United, lost at Goodison, struggled to hold the ball for more than a few seconds in the second half at the Etihad, and wilted against Watford at home. I’m not saying these absences are completely down to the absence of one player, but I think there can be little doubt that the unparalleled technique, intelligence, vision, and creativity that Cazorla brought to our midfield would probably have resulted in a larger points haul over the period he’s been out. In addition, there doesn’t seem to be any other midfielder capable of keeping the ball and wriggling out of tight spaces when the opposition are pressing in a way that relives pressure.

With Santi appearing increasingly injury prone and pushing into his 30s, I think its’ time we found a steady replacement for him. I’m all for offering him another contract, but he should no longer be thought of as the default option. We need someone to replace at least some of his very special attributes. Could Wilshere fill in that void? He is very capable of running with the ball, but will he be able to show the same maturity that Cazorla plays with? Do we need to look outside? What are our options.


It can 't be done, not unless you have United/City type money. The technique and skill he has is that rare. The hope is Wilshere gets back to fitness and comes good, which is unlikely, but he can do some similar things with his passing and dribbling.

Bakayoko looks like the hottest property right now but he probably goes to City, United, PSG or Galacticos

We know the line ‘we have enough midfielders’.


There’s this young chap playing for Bournemouth currently as a deep-lying playmaker with ball retention skills who could be ideal for us. Having a very strong season playing in the position we need actually at a club that plays a free flow attacking style.

Might be worth looking at?


Think he’s currently playing as a CAM with no defensive responsibilities.


He has the skill set but I don’t think he has the same footballing brain to control the entire tempo of a game. Cazorla became a two footed not-quite-as-good Pirlo didn’t he. There are very few players who can do this to such a level and the number one is an Italian who would/should cost £80m.

I don’t watch enough around other leagues to know if there are similar players in ligue 1 or la liga or bundesliga, but xhaka coquelin Ramsey and wilshere just aren’t up to santis level whatsoever.


The short term question is what can Chamberlain do in the role now Ramsey and Xhaka are out with Elneny away? He could make a case for himself and he has all the physical attributes to make it, it’s whether he can sort out his decision making.


Isco would be a good replacement, imo. @AbouCuellar, thoughts?


To replace Cazorla, Wenger would have to make a difficult decision on one or two of his midfielders because we’re absolutely stacked numbers wise, not gonna happen.

He’s going to cop out and bring Wilshere back and we’ll be talking about the same shit this time next year.


We have more strength in depth in midfield than most clubs but what we lack is the world class quality out wide or upfront.
There is no way Wenger will replace Cazorla with a similar standard player because the we need a world class striker or winger, depending on where Sanchez is going to play, or if he actually stays.

Replacing Cazorla with an equivalent player will be too much for us to afford as well.



Ramsey - Useless, inconsistent at best
Xhaka - Inconsistent
Elneny - Decent squad player
Cazorla - Excellent
Coquelin - Good
AMN - no idea
Ox - no idea

I’d say we could do with 2 top, top CM signings to replace Ramsey and Cazorla, unless Xhaka, AMN and Ox really really impress and can prove they can play together.

I’m not counting Ozil since he doesn’t play in the CM role, or Wilshere as he’s on loan.


Once he signs his new deal, Wenger will need to show previously unseen levels of ruthlessness if we’re to make space in that midfield area for one new signing, let alone two. Can’t see it happening.


That’s our squad though a manager has to decide whether he signs new players and moves on inconsistent and young players who could come good or give them both opportunities. You can’t give players opportunities and sign new players, it’s one or the other.

BTW you forgot Adelaide and maybe Iwobi. And ofcourse Cazorla himself. We have a big squad.

After Southampton do we want to see Chamberlain in the middle more often. Do we want AMN and Adelaide to get chances?


I’d advocate signing a new player. This kid has shades of Verratti, Gundogan and Santi.

He can pass it anyway you’d like it, can collect and bring the ball out from deep with pace, dribble in tight areas and always seems to find space. One thing that I really like about him is that unlike many of our midfielders he instinctively knows when to release the ball, he doesn’t dwell on it and has an exceptional football IQ for his age so seems to make the right decision more often than not.

In addition to his passing and dictating ability he also has a huge appetite for closing down and realishes the defensive aspect of the game, has a huge engine so can run all day long. Easy to see why he’s one of the next big things in Germany, currently has less than two years left on his deal and so likely wouldn’t cost anymore than £25mil plus he used to have a pretty good partnership with Xhaka. Would be exceptional value and is being linked to Liverpool of all teams, it just takes too much sense to sign him.

Our midfield needs to be culled with players like Ramsey given the boot but under Wenger it’ll never happen, he’s holding the team back in so many ways at this point.


I think Xhaka will be a decent player and Elneny and Coquelin are more than good enough.
As for Ramsey, Cazorla and Chamberlain, I think we should sell two of these because they simply can’t be relied on, either with fitness, ability or consistency.
As for Wilshere, I think he is still a good player, and he is worth keeping, unless someone makes a 25m bid for him and we spend all that and more on a top quality midfield player.

The depth is there but the top quality isn’t.

Cazorla is one of our most influential players and if we don’t adequately replace him, and also lose Sanchez, we are going to be in even more of a mess.


In my humble opinion, Arsenal will not replace Santi Cazorla because players like Cazorla are only David Silva and Andrès Iniesta. The others, like Verratti or Dahoud, have a different roles, different attitudes, different qualities.

A spanish player, especially for a particular role like the playmaker, is better than the others. Dahoud is a pass and run midfielder, a number 8 like Ramsey, we have a player like him. Verratti is a proper playmaker but hasn’t the attitude to be a new Cazorla. He looks a little bit lazy, he is static and not mobile and dynamic like Cazorla.


Dahoud can be groomed to fulfill Santa’s role, he’s not limited to playing b2b which is very clear. Comparing him to Ramsey is doing him a disservice.

As for Verratti not having the attitude I’m not sure what you mean tbh he’s far from static, is very hard working and is the epitome of dynamic. I’d even go as far to say more so than Santi. It sounds as if you haven’t watched him play much.


I know Verratti since his first professional league with Pescara (italian second division with Zeman as manager). He played into a midfield, in front of the defenders. In fact he is not happy to play into a duo because prefers to play into a midfield with three men because hasn’t the attitude to cover more space.


IMO that’s not a case of attitude but simply tactical preference of the manager, don’t see why he would not be happy to play in a two when he works as hard he does on the defensive side. Even if it was the case it doesn’t take anything away from him.

He’s another that could replace Santi but it’s impossible he moves to us.


Yea he looks good on highlights but how good is he realistically right now? His passing accuracy is low (below anyone in our XI), chance creation average, he doesn’t win the ball back at a particularly high rate (less than Xhaka), doesn’t beat his man consistently. Whoscored has him playing as CAM currently too. His end product was pretty good last year, this year it isn’t. He’s a talented kid no doubt but he’s hardly playing at a Santi/Gundoghan/Veratti level, try a bit below Wilshere’s level.

Just like loads of people said ‘Xhaka makes too much sense to sign him so it won’t happen’ (and they did), this kid won’t set the world alight for some time if ever.


This is what happens when you use a single website and YouTube highlights to ascertain anything significant about a player.

Come back to me when you’ve consistently watched him play, talking about below Wilshire? Where did you get that from their whoscored rating? Laughable.